OneSimCard — and OneSimCard’s “Global” Dual SIM Quad-Band GSM Unlocked International Cell Phone — Review

© 2014 Peter Free


11 August 2014


Photo of OneSimCard Global Dual SIM Quad Band GSM unlocked international cell phone.


Locality-specific glitches?


The combination of OneSimCard and the company’s recommended “Global” cell phone did not work often enough to be useful to me in southwestern Germany.


The glitches I experienced probably highlight the difficulties inherent in offering services that purport to work across a wide variety of technologies and terrains.



“Oops, gotta get something”


We got to our new residence in southwestern Germany not wanting to pay international charges on our existing Verizon (US) smart phone contract.  Internet browsing before leaving the United States had suggested that buying an international phone and SIM card when we got here was probably the most cost effective approach to communicating.  For the interim, we bought an AT&T international calling card Stateside, intending to use whatever landlines we had access to in Germany, during the first couple of weeks here.


Upon arrival, we discovered that the calling card did not work properly on the landlines we had access to.  This may well have been due to error on our part, or perhaps to the complicated phone and number system we were trying to use it with.


Compounding this difficulty were stupidities on the part of our American bank and credit card issuers.  They cut off our accounts, despite having been long ago informed (in detail) of the coming change in residence.


Using temporary WiFi access, I ordered OneSimCard online.



Can you hear me now? — Nope


The OneSimCard and Global phone combination did not work in the Lanscheid-Spangdahlem region of southwest Germany more often than they did.


Usually, at best, when I called from our house to my wife’s workplace — or she called me — she could hear only fragments of every third word.  This was sometimes true, even when I was within 1 kilometer of her office.


Failed reception was not for lack of trying.  Twice, in noticeable rain, I walked out to large open spaces between low buildings, to see whether my position relative to them mattered.  It did not.


Text messages would not send at all.


In contrast, I could hear my wife well enough about 70 percent of the time.  Her work-issued Blackberry worked with everyone else she talked to.  The problem was consistently at my end.



 Was it the card or the phone?


I could not tell whether our reception problems were due to OneSimCard’s roaming, the local carriers it roamed to, the phone itself, or just the local terrain and atmosphere’s effects on signal strength.


The Blackberry’s success in being understandable tended to rule out local signal strength as the problem.  Additionally, locals told me that T-Mobile and Vodafone both provide decent reception in this area.  Even when my phone roamed to these two carriers’ signals, the OneSimCard Global phone did not work properly 80 percent of the time.


In addition to presenting reception problems where I tried to use it, the phone exhibits pronounced ergonomic irritations.  It is tiny and set up much like a Blackberry.  It has tiny alpha-numeric buttons.  The phone also has an obtuse way of cycling from two sets of lower case letters to upper case and then numbers.


Similarly, the highlighted default home screen icon is not one that most people would have picked.


Most irritating, the two OneSimCard call buttons — one for each of two cards — are located where virtually anyone carrying the phone in an unlocked condition will trigger them.


At $90, the Global was not cheap.


On the positive side, the Global phone does have the virtue of being exceptionally small and light.  I imagine that someone with small hands and willing to lock it after every use might be happy with it — provided that it works wherever they are.



Amazon reviews span the gamut from happy to allegations of fraud


Three are representative:


(1) Most positive (in an informed sense) was Sharkman 1991’s, here.


He fair-mindedly points out that OneSimCard’s self-representations are not fraudulent and the card worked well for him on his travels.


His assessment does a better job of covering key financial details than the company’s website does.  And the thoroughness of his review exceeds most of the others on the Amazon site.


 (2) In contrast, OPT’s unabashedly negative review paralleled my experience with OneSimCard in southwestern Germany.


He had the same reception and texting problem that I did, even with 5 signal bar strength.  However, his location in the world at the time is not specified.


(3) Even more annoyed was Harel Shouval.  He was so unhappy with OneSimCard’s non-performance in his unlocked iPhone 4s that, after dealing with the company’s allegedly unhelpful customer support, he suggested that it change its name to OneSimFraud.



What to make of this wide range of opinions?


I suspect that OneSimCard runs into at least occasional problems with the cellular services it roams to, local terrain and atmosphere glitches, as well users’ cell phone quality.


Given that mix, it does not surprise me that some people, in some places, will feel let down.



The moral? —  OneSimCard works in some places and not others, and the mix may not be predictable


Where I am in Germany, the combination of OneSimCard and the company’s Global phone did not work.  But I still do not know whether the problem was with OneSimCard, the company’s Global phone, or both.